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Gunther, M.S. (1999). Recalled Dreams as a Stimulus for Self-Analysis. Ann. Psychoanal., 26:83-101.

(1999). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 26:83-101

Recalled Dreams as a Stimulus for Self-Analysis

Meyer S. Gunther, M.D.

Discretion is incompatible with a satisfactory description of an analysis; to provide the latter one would have to be unscrupulous, give away, betray, behave like an artist who buys paints with his wife's housekeeping money or uses the furniture as firewood to warm the studio for his model. Without a trace of this kind of unscrupulousness the job cannot be done.

—Sigmund Freud (in Meng and Freud, 1963)

In his important essay titled “On Fastball Pitching, Astronomical Clocks and Self-Cognition,” Gedo (1993) describes an experience of obligatory self-analysis, as if he were required by something within himself to explore the meaning of a striking dream which occurred the night before he was to present an honorary lecture in one of his old hometowns. This article provided the impetus for me to put into print my own attempts at making sense out of four recurrent dreams. When these dreams present themselves unbidden to my consciousness, I am aware of a feeling of uneasiness that compels me to think about them. I believe these dreams signal a change in some critical situational factors (often traumatic, but not only so) which, in turn, demand and facilitate further solutions to old issues. When I have done sufficient mental work, these dreams slip back to preconscious levels and remain quiescent until the next time they are needed.

After describing these dreams, their original associations, and the circumstances that characterized their first occurrence, I shall present a summary of my efforts to explore how they fit into my self-analysis. I shall critically review some current conceptulizations about the use of self-analysis and make some proposals regarding how such representational phenomena might relate to self-analytic activity.


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